BOEM designates two offshore wind areas in Gulf of Mexico
A picture from Cathie Associates visit to the US’ first commercial offshore wind farm; Block Island.
November 1 (Renewables Now) - The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Monday designated two wind energy areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore development, paving the way for the first offshore wind lease sale in the region.
The first WEA covers 508,265 acres (205,688 ha) and sits about 24 nautical miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas. The other one spans 174,275 acres and is located some 56 nautical miles off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The two areas have the potential to host turbines to supply almost three million homes, BOEM estimates.
As a next step, BOEM will issue a proposed sale notice with a 60-day public comment period later this year or early in 2023.
The Department of the Interior agency noted it has selected the two zones after a conducting analysis together with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The collaboration aimed at finding areas with “the least conflict with other uses and the lowest environmental impact.”
The draft version of the two WEAs was slightly reduced to take into account concerns related to shipping, marine navigation, and military operations. Their designation follows a 45-day public comment period.
The Biden administration has set a target of 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and a goal of 15 GW for floating offshore wind energy capacity by 2035. In 2021, the US outlined plans for BOEM to hold up to seven new offshore lease sales by 2025. A wind lease auction for five areas off California’s coast is due to kick off early in December.
Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.